First of all it is possible! We spent a month in French Polynesia and went to big islands like Tahiti as well as very small atolls like Tikehau and managed to find vegan food in all places with more or less effort. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling on a tight budget or luxurious, vegan food is available in all price categories. Nevertheless it is not always easy to find vegan food especially if you are eating out. French and Polynesian cuisine is mainly consisting of fish and meat dishes, so a lot of places from 5 star hotels to little street restaurants don’t offer any vegan options. In the following article we will share the vegan gems we found during our trip as well as useful tips for planning your vegan dream holiday in Tahiti, Mo’orea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Rangiroa and Tikehau.
Vegan Food in Tahiti
Tahiti is the main island of French Polynesia and is very well supplied with everything you could imagine. There are several big Carrefour’s which have all the things a vegan traveller needs. If you are staying in homestay’s you can just cook at home and save a lot of money and probably also eat more delicious than in the restaurants. You can find hummus, falafel, vegan burger, vegan sausages, soy protein, all kind of plant milk, soy yoghurt and soy chocolate pudding, chia seeds, quinoa, nutritional yeast, 100% natural peanut butter, vegan chocolate spread, tofu and fresh vegetables and fruits.
If you live in one of the 4 or 5 star hotels or you want to visit their restaurants you need to let them know about your “special” request at least one day in advance. If you want to eat at local “snacks” choose the ones which offer pizza and tell them you want a veggie pizza without cheese. Apart from pizza and French fries they don’t offer anything vegan. In Papeete are also several Asian restaurants which have vegan options. We went to a Thai restaurant called “Villa Thai” which had a whole vegetarian/vegan menu. The food was very delicious, but also a bit pricy. We had Pad Thai and Red Curry.
Vegan Food at the International Airport in Papeete
During you trip you will probably be at the airport several times between flights to islands or at arrival or departure. To our surprise this small airport with only 2 restaurants has lots of vegan options to offer. Head over to the restaurant atrium, it is between the domestic and international terminal opposite the car rental companies, and you can find vegan quinoa salad, tofu wraps, salad, vegan burger, and veggie pizza. The snacks come in plastic but if you order a tofu burger or pizza it comes fresh on a proper plate. We had the tofu burger and it was very delicious and filling. Most meals in French Polynesia are huge and you only need to order one to feed two.
Vegan Food in Mo’orea
Mo’orea is very close to Tahiti and also relatively well supplied. There are 3 supermarkets in the main town Maharepa. The supplies vary a lot so if you are looking for something special you might need to visit all supermarkets to find what you are looking for. You can find tofu, wraps, beans, lentils, pasta, quinoa, chia seeds, soy milk and if you are lucky the 100% natural peanut butter. The supply of fresh veggies and fruits is not really good in the supermarkets. The best is to buy these from little street vendors. Most veggie and fruits are organic and it is always good to support local businesses and buy what is in season. We liked the nice lady opposite Mo’orea Tropical Garden a lot.
If you want to eat our we have the following recommendations:
Lilikoi Garden Cafe (Lunch & Dinner)
This cute family-owned restaurant in the garden of the French/Japanese owners is very famous among Hilton hotel guests as it is almost directly opposite the street. The menu has several vegan options. We tried the veggie curry and the Poke bowl. The veggie curry was super delicious, the Poke bowl was nice, but it would thought there was some protein component like tofu missing. If you visit you should definitely try the homemade ice cream. Mango was my absolute favourite. All ice creams are made with coconut milk.
A l’Heure du Sud (Lunch open until 4pm, closed on Wednesdays)
Close to the famous Tispanier Beach you can find this reasonable prices food truck with nice open air seats. They have tofu baguette and vegan burgers. The burger was average but we really like the huge tofu baguette. As somebody with a huge sweet tooth I was thrilled to see that they even have vegan cake. A vegan friend of the owner is making chocolate cheese cake for the truck. I was not expecting much but I was so surprised about how delicious this cake was, the most delicious vegan cake in French Polynesia.
Pizza Place between the Petrol Station & A l’Heure du Sud
Somehow I could not find the name of this place anymore, but it is directly next to the patrol station on the right site of the little shopping village. We wanted to go to A l’heure du Sud to get this cake again, but it was Wednesday so it was closed. Then we just went next door and had an amazing vegan pizza. The pizza is so big that we both could share one.
This pizza place is close to Maharepa and popular among locals. Allo Pizza has a vegetarian pizza on the menu just let them know that you don’t want cheese. The pizza was good but not as good as at the place mentioned above.
Vegan Food in Huahine
Huahine is much smaller than Mo’orea and Tahiti and is supplied by a weekly boat. Nevertheless there is one big supermarket SuperU in Fare which offers a good variety of food like tofu and soy milk, pasta etc. Regarding the vegetables and fruits, it is best to buy from the locals in front of the supermarket. The variety is scarce, most locals just eat fish, meat and rice or pasta. If you want something special be there early. Tomatoes for example are sold out quickly as well as the fresh baguette.
The bananas and papayas are super delicious and are coming directly from the gardens next door. We were super surprised that we even found frozen dumpling wrappers. So we ended up making vegan Chinese dumplings on 2 evenings, because we miss Chinese food so much. And hey we cannot always eat pasta 🙂
If you are into sweets as much as I am you can also buy all goods for making muffins or cakes by yourself most accommodations have ovens. We ended up making banana chocolate coconut muffins for 3 times. They are so good with the aromatic bananas fresh from the trees.
If you want to eat out the options are very limited.
In the evening there is a pizza truck in front of the supermarket which looked quite nice. We didn’t eat there because we had so much dumplings.
In the south of Huahine there is a hotel which offers vegan burgers and fruit sorbets. We spend a lot of time on the beach there because it is just so beautiful. So for lunch we ended up sharing one of their vegan burgers and it was good unfortunately the staff was very unfriendly. Next time we just brought some food for picnic on the beach.
Vegan Food in Bora Bora
Bora Bora has 2 bigger supermarkets in the main town Vaitape. There you can find tofu, soy protein and soy milk etc. Veggies are also sold in the supermarket. For fruits it is best to check the locals vendors along the street. Next to banana, papaya and mango we even found avocados. We were also very lucky that the place we stayed at had fresh pomelo, mango, basil and coconuts in their garden which we could eat/drink for free. We often had Chia Pudding with fresh coconut milk, cereals, banana and mango for breakfast.
Most high-end hotels offer vegetarian pizza and pasta so if you go out you will definitely find something in the Intercontinental and Maitai Hotel.
This is a pizza place which was always very crowded and they also offer vegetarian pizza. The prices are the same as for the pizza in the Intercontinental Hotel.
Vegan Food in the Tuamotos
Now it gets a bit harder to find vegan food. The Tuamotos are coral atolls without soil which means nothing is growing here. Locals eat mostly fish, pasta and rice. We heard from several sources that it is almost impossible to be vegan there. All travellers we met, vegan or non vegan had problems finding enough food to cook a proper meal. Fish cannot be bought in the market, you need to have contacts or you have to catch it by yourself. Frozen meat can be found but vegetables are rare. We always had the most fancy meals among our fellow travellers in our guesthouse, because we just love eating and cooking and we don’t like eating canned food.
Vegan Food in Rangiroa
Most restaurants and hotels don’t have any vegan dishes on the menu, but we still found 2 places who cooked something special for us.
Pizza Truck (Dinner)
Almost in the middle of the island you can find a pizza truck. The owner made his first vegan pizza for us and it was super delicious and also not too expensive.
Te Mao (Dinner)
This place is the only bar in Rangiroa and has very delicious cocktails. The lovely couple from Paris also offers dinner. Usually they don’t have vegan or vegetarian dishes on the menu, but they are super friendly and understanding and cooked a vegan meal for us. They get their supplies directly from Tahiti so they have more things than the supermarket. We had homemade bread with tomato paste, beetroot, fried mushrooms, veggies in coconut milk and fried cooking bananas in coconut milk which was my favourite. I will definitely cook this at home. I love to get new cooking inspirations. For dessert we had mango sorbet which was just as delicious as the main dish.
For lunch there is no chance to find anything vegan apart from French fries, so we cooked at home. The little supermarket had tofu, tomatoes and broccoli and even pesto. One evening we had pasta and for lunch fried tofu with broccoli for a change. In Rangiroa I discovered my love for tofu caprese. Just add some pesto, olive oil, salt and pepper on tofu and eat it with tomatoes and here you have your vegan caprese.
Just for info there is no baguette on Sundays. If you should stay in the fancy Kio Ora hotel they told us they can prepare vegan food, but only for house guests.
Vegan Food in Tikehau
In general Tikehau is the hardest place to find supplies for self-caterers. There are only 3 little shops which have mainly canned supplies. There are no locals selling any fruits or veggies. Everything comes with the weekly supply ship from Tahiti (apart from self-caught fish). The boat arrives every Tuesday around lunch. Tuesday afternoon is your only chance to buy some veggies and fruits in Tikehau. Rush to store and buy as much as you need for your whole stay. The boat brings eggplant, lettuce, tomato, potatos, carrot, apples and oranges. You cannot find tofu or soy milk here. The best is to bring some tofu or soy protein and a few vegetables from the place you are coming from.
Luckily Tikehau has a bakery. If you want fresh baguette you need to pre-order your baguette before noon and pick it up every day at 4pm. On Thursday the bakery is closed, which is a problem if you arrive on a Wednesday or Thursday. So be prepared and bring some supplies for breakfast.
There is no restaurant which offers and vegan food apart from french fries.
The good thing is there are coconuts everywhere for free. If you know how to open a coconut you can have as many as you can eat and drink. Just ask the locals to teach you, even I can do it now.
Bring your stainless steal straw so you can easily fix your coconut water craving. Did you know that coconuts already have a whole for a straw? It is very easy to open. Mother Nature thank you for this great invention.
We also loved to make our own coconut milk, this is the most cream and rich coconut milk you can ever imagine. We love to eat to make a nice coconut tomato sauce and eat it with pasta. This dish will blow your mind.
We hope this article helps to plan your vegan trip to the dream destination French Polynesia and shows that it is possible to be vegan for at least a month. Please let us know if you find some more vegan places so we can add them to the list. Mauruuru and have an awesome time.